Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah, the incumbent Vice Chancellor of Government College University (GCU) Lahore, has moved the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the Selection Committee constituted by the Punjab Chief Minister for the appointment of Chairperson, Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC).

Prof Shah secured 94 of 100 qualification points but was not called for interview by the Selection Committee comprising Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, Dr Arif Nazir Butt, Dr Khalid Aftab and Shahid Najam.

Prof Shah through lawyers Anwar Kamal and Rana Asadullah Khan filed a writ petition 31009/19 in the LHC against the ‘bias’ of the committee and prayed that the process adopted by the Search Committee constituted for the appointment of PHEC Chairperson be declared void.

The petitioner contended that that the Search Committee failed to perform its duties in accordance with principles of justice, equity, fairplay and transparency.

According to Notification No. So(Univ) PHEC-1/2018 dated 18-01-2019, the Government of the Punjab Higher Education Department notified the short listing criteria according to which candidates scoring 75 points would be shortlisted for interview.

Honorable Justice Ayesha A Malik on Tuesday admitted the writ petition and notified the Punjab Chief Minister and Punjab Higher Education Department Secretary for May 19, 2019.

Advocates Anwar Kamal and Rana Asadullah Khan argued that the Search Committee did not have the jurisdiction and authority to bar eligible candidates securing 75 percent points from being interviewed. “Since the Qualification Points were 100 and the Interview Points 100, it simply means that the Search Committee whimsically, unreasonably and with prejudiced mind ousted all eligible candidates clearing the bar at the notified 75 percent” they said.

Advocate Anwar Kamal contended that the Search Committee did not enjoy unfettered power or discretion. “The obvious exercise of unbridled power is arbitrary, unlawful and ex-facie unreasonable,” they reasoned.

The petitioner prayed to the court that the Punjab government be restrained from acting upon the legally flawed recommendations of the Search Committee. The case has been fixed for May 29.

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